Subdermal Currents is a group made up of some very creative individuals who have all had a lot of experiences prior to coming into this elective, experiences in design and in life. This opened up great potential, as we all had so many ideas and opinions to offer, but equally we were faced with responding to a different way of thinking to that of our own.
I like to think that I am aware of my capabilities within group work, and know that I make a conscious effort to keep work equal and enable everyone’s contributions. However, this can be difficult when not everyone shares the same level of awareness and the group balance becomes askew. As a VisCom student, we don’t engage in much group work that entails creative compromise and I’m not sure either about how other students in different disciplines feel about this. Sometimes in order to move forward someone in the group has to take charge for the sake of making decisions and making progress, and I think we all agreed it is a difficult position to be in.
However, in this specific group project I didn’t feel as though there was an individual that took control, rather it felt as though the four of us were all travelling along separate lines. These lines ran parallel to each other for a majority of the project, and while there were some occasions when a variation of these lines intersected, sometimes in groups of 2 or 3, I don’t believe that all 4 converged into 1 until close to the end of the project. For example, our group spent a significant amount of time on research, with each of us researching different topics. When we presented what we had found to each other, there wasn’t one person who decided for us which research to follow, rather we acknowledged everyones work and continued on with our own. However, this was not a bad thing as by the end of the project we had articulated a great idea and with more time this would have been refined. In hindsight though, we should have been more open to each other’s work.
Although this reflection may sound slightly negative so far, the positives that emerged from our work were very rewarding. I found it very exciting to get to work with students from both animation and IPD as I got to experience two very new ways of creative thinking. My view on animation is that follows a highly visual direction with some theoretical underpinnings and essentially picks one idea to develop from the beginning. In contrast, VisCom students initially develop multiple ideas into concepts, before picking one to execute. IPD has a primary focus on how the individual engages with the design and its ergonomics. In VisCom we don’t look so much at ergonomics and the body, but more so at individuals’ minds and how to get them to interpret design in a certain way. Additionally, I realised that communicating our creative visions to each was slightly difficult as we all had a slightly different design vocabulary. This challenging task was enjoyable to overcome I essentially got to learn more about each of my group members’ disciplines.
Despite all the difficulties, our group’s attitude was one of elation and accomplishment when we submitted our work. I think, in part, we felt so accomplished because we overcame our struggle to work cohesively and managed to pull together to produce a sound work. In retrospect, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience more so because I can appreciate the new perspective I have on group work, as well as the perspectives I have gained from my group.